At Harrogate District of Sanctuary we have been very busy having a great time and working hard!! We are very grateful for the support of Harrogate Borough Council who have produced a publicity leaflet for us…see attached. HBC have also produced a pull up banner for us, and artwork for an A1 poster which we had laminated and will display on our A1 AFrame…so there will be no missing us!
On 15th July we took our families and unaccompanied minors for a day in the country where we all enjoyed a barbecue and lots of delicious Syrian food. There were games for the children (and grown ups) and plenty of time to sit and chat and get to know each other in a lovely environment. It was lovely to see everyone so relaxed and enjoying themselves. Our volunteer photographer took lots of lovely pictures so we made up a very attractive photo memory album which we had printed and gave a copy to each family (and each committee member). See also attached.
We are planning a trip to the beautiful Fountains Abbey in September which everyone has signed up for.
In addition to enjoying ourselves we are not forgetting the serious stuff and are engaged in awareness raising. We now have a great circulation list of organisations in and around the District, and our Chair has met up with Asylum Matters to start thinking of ways to engage with our MP. In April we had a presentation from the Refugee Council focusing on the Syrian resettlement programme, and the work the Refugee Council do to support newly arrived refugees. In July our meeting was a Focus on Children and included a speaker form the Save the Children organisation among others.
On Tuesday 26th September we having our next open meeting. This will feature a presentation by Sleman Shwaish, a Syrian refugee who now works for the British Red Cross as regional coordinator. Sleman will talk about what it means to be a Syrian refugee. I have heard Sleman speak before and I know this will be an excellent event so we are hoping for a large audience. (See attached flyer for details).
We are starting to think about having a “pop up restaurant” at some point serving Syrian food and inviting paying guests…watch this space!
We continue to support the Refugees Welcome in Harrogate group and also the Harrogate School of English as we are very aware that the top priority for refugees is to learn English so that they can increase their confidence and independence and of course their chances of employment We also look out for volunteering opportunities as a chance to improve conversational English and meet new friends etc. To this end we linked up with St Michael’s Hospice who were looking for volunteers for their new furniture shop. Now several of our Syrian friends are volunteering regularly either in the shop or on the vans collecting and delivering furniture.. This seem to be going really well and will hopefully benefit both the Syrians and St Michael’s Hospice
So lots achieved over the last few months but still lots to do.
Chair Harrogate District of Sanctuary